Aruba’s government is committed to working towards sustainable development. Social welfare, economic responsibility and ecological resilience are all key to the realization of this goal. In order to make sound decisions about the management of ecosystems, it is necessary to estimate the socio-economic value that these ecosystems provide to Aruba and incorporate Natural Capital in policy-making.
In 2016, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Communication, Energy & Environment of Aruba – Mr. Mike de Meza, together with Roland Croes – Director of Setar N.V., a telecommunications company on the island, commissioned research into ecosystem service assessment and valuation. The project was carried out by Wolfs Company, in partnership with IVM, VU University, Amsterdam and YABI Consultancy, by applying The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) framework in the context of Aruba.
It was found that for ecosystem services related to tourism, culture, fishing and carbon, the value of Aruba’s natural capital exceeded US$ 287 million per year. This extraordinary figure highlights the intrinsic importance of Aruba’s natural attributes to its people and economy. Tourism is responsible for an enormous share of Aruba’s economy and is heavily reliant on good quality nature. It was found that around 50% of current visitors would not return if there was extensive environmental degradation. The outcomes of the report provide key socio-economic and environmental indicators to help formulate appropriate policy and guidelines.